Autumn In New York

Remember the first time you heard Billie Holiday crooning the lyrics,
“Autumn in New York, why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York, it spells the thrill of first-nighting.”
and you thought, “What the hell’s first nighting?” Well, unfortunately, we still have no idea what that means but here’s a short list of inviting activities to make sure your autumn in New York is as colorful as the foliage in Central Park.

Tour de Fabulous

Fast & Fabulous, New York’s premiere LGBT cycling club, will hold four upcoming tours this month on the 10th, 15th, 17th, and a riverside view ride on the 30th. The rides are for all levels, so anyone in any shape is encouraged to join. For questions or to order the group’s custom-made biking attire, visit their website.

If choosing your own distance and your own pace sounds more your speed, check out the 17th annual NYC Century Bike Tour. On Sep 10, 5,000 cyclists will whiz through five routes (from 15 miles to 100 miles in length) in our amazing city. Don’t worry about getting lost or falling too far behind—for safety’s sake, there are marshals posted throughout the tour who’ll make sure you cross the finish line. Registration costs $55 the week of Sep 8, but signing up on race day will set you back $65. Save some dinero and register now!

While a just-for-fun bike ride offers plenty of physical perks, peddling for a cause benefits both the body and the soul. Don’t take our word for it—sign up for the fourth annual Braking the Cycle, a biking event that supports the HIV/AIDS services division of the LGBT Community Center. From Sep 15–17, concerned riders will travel the hearty distance from Gettysburg, PA to Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Registration costs $85, but don’t think you’re getting off that easy—riders must also collect $3500 in sponsor donations for The Center before taking off. Spots in the race fill up quickly, so visit the official website and register ASAP.

Run Away

Never learned how to ride a bike? Not a problem. Front Runners New York, a running club for lesbians, gays, and gay-friendly men and women looking for a little exercise, meets at 10am in Central Park every Saturday. All levels and all bodies are always welcome. For anyone new to the sport, FRNY hooks you up with an experienced runner to ensure you have a great time and not a stroke.

If you’re not into running, try the FRNY’s Walking Club. “Early to bed, early to rise” is the motto here, with the club meeting every Sunday morning at 9:15am at the Daniel Webster Statue in Central Park. The walkers stride across a six-mile loop (though any member can cut off at any time) then head out for bagels and refreshments.

Besides running and brisk walking, the Front Runners know how to party. After tough (and not so tough) runs and practices, the group heads to a local hangout for beers and burgers. Hey, what’s the point of burning calories if you can’t wastefully consume them later? Check out this fit and friendly group at

A Walk in the Park

Shakespeare in Central Park is a tradition that almost every New Yorker has enjoyed over the years. Better hurry and get thee to the Delacorte Theater, because this year’s final offering, Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children (featuring Meryl Streep) closes Sep 3.

Just like Gatsby and Daisy, you can discover the romantic allure of boating while also enjoying Central Park at its most beautiful. When the leaves begin to turn all those dreamy shades, that’s the time to surprise someone special with your rowing prowess. At the Loeb Boathouse between 74th and 75th Streets, rentals are $10 for the first hour then $2.50 for each additional hour. Whether proposing marriage or something a little less decent, take it from Gatsby and do it in a rowboat. Swans not included.

Ommm…Become one with your spiritual side during Tai Chi in the park. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art, which promotes health of mind, body and spirit (and who doesn’t need a little help in at least one of them?). Tai Chi is a great way to relax in the middle of a hectic work week so gather the girls (and their spirits) and give it a try. Located in the North Meadow Recreation Center in the middle of the park at 97th Street. 212-348-4867

The New York Botanical Garden
always offers beautiful sites and exhibits for all to marvel at. In a special exhibit running through October 29, famous artist Dale Chihuly peppers the gardens with his flower-like blown glass sculptures. Mother Nature pitches in with exotic floras, soaring palm trees, tropical lilies and colorful lotuses throughout the exhibit. And when you get hungry, choose from three eateries at the gardens that offer everything from snacks to a romantic lunch for two. 718-817-8700 for tickets

Make a Splash

Nothing is better than a brisk swim on a fall day…well, maybe a perfect martini, but I digress. The Manhattan Island Foundation hosts the 1st annual Brooklyn Bridge Swim on Sep 9. Swimmers start this one-kilometer trek at the East River Park and end up, of course, at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. An added incentive is the publicized awards ceremony, where honors are given to the top male and female swimmers. Don’t feel bad if you aren’t the quickest; medals are given to all swimmers for their effort. The registration fee ($80 after Sep 3) goes to a good cause; the Manhattan Island Foundation’s work keeps the very water you’re swimming in clean. They also teach city children of all ages how to swim.

Who Will Buy?

If your favorite exercise is shopping, the changing seasons are the perfect excuse to get out there and consume. The 20th annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction allows you to pick up great items while supporting a great cause—the sponsor, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, is a major force in the fight against AIDS, and proceeds from the event go towards AIDS awareness and related topics. On Sep 24, the flea market and auction will bring out the biggest names and the brightest stars of Broadway and daytime television. These celebrities will sell memorabilia while greeting fans. The merchandise ranges from photos with stars to costume pieces worn by your favorite icon. If you’re a super fan with a super amount of do re mi to spend, you might walk away with a walk-on role on your favorite soap, in a film, or on Broadway!

Whether you’re a novice to the art scene or an old pro, GLAAD will excite you with their 5th annual OUT Auction on Oct 1. This event displays and auctions the artwork of seasoned artists as well as the most talked about up and comers. The profits go to GLAAD’s ongoing work in the community. Wear your most Audrey Hepburn garb and enjoy a night of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and art, art, art!

What Do You Think?